Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

Indications Veto a Hasty Withdrawal


Indications Veto a  Hasty Withdrawal

Having gone through some of the most trouble some experiences in the course of history and, in particular, in the recent decades, Afghans have got a clear outlook of how the country will handle the problems once the international forces make a complete withdrawal. They have stayed here more than a decade and have managed the overall process. Their areas of operations have varied from fighting terrorists, keeping security, training Afghan National Security Forces to running development projects and supervising national forces' advancement process.

Only a month before the withdrawal process will kick off, the government of president Karzai is hesitant on its capability to accurately manage things after the US-led NATO forces will have left the country. A number of NATO officials share the same concern and give frequent warning on a premature withdrawal. They insist the current policy have responded effectively and needs to be carried on.

However, it is hard to provide evidence for the claim. US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has warned that making any change to the current NATO-led military campaign in Afghanistan would be "premature". During a visit to Kabul Gates said the operations against the Taliban had been effective over the past year, with notable gains achieved in the south. "I believe that if we can hold on to the territory that has been recaptured from the Taliban and perhaps expand that security, then we will be in position toward the end of this year to perhaps have a successful opening to reconciliation with the militants," the BBC quoted Gates, as saying.

"Or at least we could be in a position where we can say we've turned the corner here in Afghanistan. Making any changes prior to that time would be premature,' he added. Experts claim that Gates' comments highlight his concern that any large reduction of US forces in Afghanistan this year could jeopardize military gains in the country.

With the deadline for withdrawal less than a month away, the top US military commander, Admiral Michael Mullen, revealed recently that there will not be big change in the current number of troops fighting terrorists. When he announced his "surge" of 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan in December 2009, Obama set July 2011 as the date that, supposedly having achieved US military objectives, the drawdown of troops would begin. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, admitted this week that the military has yet to even make a recommendation as to how many of the nearly 100,000 US troops deployed in Afghanistan will be pulled out next month.

General David Petraeus, the senior US commander in Afghanistan, has not, as of this week, provided the administration with any proposal. Petraeus's recommendation would be the first step in a process that would involve discussion within the administration and a final decision by Obama. It seems clear that any withdrawal will be of a minimal and largely symbolic character.

Petraeus himself has joined the top British commander in Afghanistan and the secretary-general of NATO in warning against any precipitous drawdown of troops. He had said last week that any withdrawal would be "responsible" and "at a pace determined by conditions on the ground." A series of recent attacks launched by the Taliban have called into question the US strategy for the gradual "Afghanization" of the nearly 10-year-old war. In the most recent case, last Monday, armed fighters attempted to storm the main NATO base in the western city of Herat, using a car bomb to blast a hole in the compound's wall and waging a pitched battle with Italian and Afghan troops.

On the other side, the cooperation and coordination process between Afghan government and the international forces in the war against terrorism has increasingly proved divergent. The forces have frequently expressed concern on president' Karzai's administration and the Afghan forces' capability to aptly handle the job. While President expresses concern on how the international forces are operating.

Furthermore, the recent violent developments in major cities of the country indicate that extremist groups are highly active from the most populated cities to the remote deserted areas. Religious extremist groups entering the country are progressively promoting more instability, violence, intolerance and sectarian enmities. The battle will continue as long as radical teachings are wildly promoted across the country and extremism hotbed is functioning safely beyond the borders. Having been suppressed by a multifaceted sticky situation, the government of Afghanistan needs to fight them simultaneously because they are functioning as inter-linked elements. Can the government do it? Indications suggest a negative response to that. Experts eying on Afghanistan happenings advice that the Afghan government needs to get a move on and find the required political determination to steadily fight the interconnected challenging components.

With the US forces beginning to withdraw next month, President Karzai government will be highly challenged to address security concerns in the country. Huge amounts of money, forming a bulk of the fund spent on Afghanistan, have been allocated to security sector in the country but less productive results have been achieved so far. The increasing insurgency, government's inability to take over the mission and the NATO countries' willingness to pull back their troops have led to a severe and tense environment for Afghan nationals and the government.

However, this doesn't indicate denial of improvements made in building Afghan security forces. The forces have increased in terms of number but not satisfactory performance is seen achieved by Afghan National Security Forces. Analysts had previously warned that without the Western military presence, president Karzai's government would soon collapse. In addition to inefficient training, lack of equipment, ethnic conflicts – as reports had disclosed -, divergent decision making process at the top security level and unsustainable funding sources, infiltration of insurgent groups inside our forces are of the main concerns for the government, the nation and the international community.

As seen, this year is so vital for winning or losing the war and getting the mission accomplished. As ever, violence continues harassing people's lives and downplaying achievements in Afghanistan. The perspective of peace, development and stability remains erratic in Afghanistan. Battling a multilateral dilemma, the government is too weak to stand on its own.

The rampant corruption, low capacity, divergent policies and inefficient strategies have so far ruined the opportunities to win the war and build a stable, developed and democrat Afghanistan. To conclude, as the overall situation here has seen no substantial improvements rather it has, in some cases, deteriorated badly, a hasty abandonment of Afghanistan will leave behind a bunch of more heightened troublesome issues at the hand of insufficiently experienced managers, with the rising militancy and increasing direct meddling by certain external elements that have waited long to embrace the opportunity.

No need to say, neither Afghans want the US and its allies to stay here everlastingly nor they can do it. But a premature withdrawal will cause collapse of the process that may realize trepidation of return of the long-feared chaos.

Nasrudding Hemati is the permanent writer of Daily Outlook Afghanistan and Writes on National and International issues. He can be reached through mail@outlookafghanistan.com

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